Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Tuesday SOL - One real positive this year

This post is for the Tuesday Slice of Life writing challenge on Two Writing Teachers.

The children were last seen in the school on Friday, June 15th, but, their voices echoed.

We teachers spent busy, long days last week packing up our classrooms for our move this summer to a wonderful new location.

In the midst of the packing, we had several focused discussions about specific issues, both to wrap up this founding year of our school and looking ahead to year two.

In the midst of the packing, we took time to meet and share about our children.

I love being part of a staff that is truly all about the children.

I love how
we know about each other's students,
we embrace the time to share about specific issues,
we make these our whole school's issues.

Certain children need more.  It's as simple as that.

We shared about successes, we shared about continued challenges...their struggles, their "stuckness," their beings.

In the midst of the packing, we had "kid talk," all of us embracing the time, respecting the need for this time.  Time to hone in on what worked, what went wrong with specific children...considering their struggles, changes that are needed, ways we might support the child and family better, how to make changes in our teaching and across classrooms, in the school as a whole, to better support the child.  Were there common unmet needs?  Were there successful strategies? How might we work together to guide this student?

As I reflect this summer, I am happily aware that I love spending time with my colleagues.

I love how
we listen to one another's challenges in the classroom,
we draw a difficult child in rather than push them away,
we welcome older students to "catch a breath" in younger students' classrooms,
we have high expectations for their learning,
we seek to know the child.

Yes, we spent time on children, and the packing got short shrift.

I started off so controlled and organized - specific boxes marked "math manipulatives," "dramatic play - hospital," "engineering."  As time and spirit failed, it became a mad rush to just get everything into boxes, a frenzied, chaotic, get it done, I am fried, I need to go home conclusion to the year.

I'll find time in August to sort through those materials.

I'm glad we spent time on children.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

A poem to remember the year

My Tuesday Slice of Life

I tried my hand at an "end of the year" poem for my preschool class, in hopes of catching the spirit of our year together.  We have had a lot of fun together, and I hope that their families will enjoy this reflection...22 memories, for 22 preschoolers!

Our last day is Friday!

We will remember,
we hope you remember,

“My heart to your heart, I wish you well”
Our hello/goodbye window
Playing in sand and water
Dancing to We Are the Dinosaurs
Making gak
Fruit salad birthdays
Painting with marbles  
How does your story begin?
Driving the cardboard car
Playing with balls and ramps
The sharing box
Reading folktales
Writing the penguin story
Drawing with stencils
Block cities
Ram Sam Sam
Rainy day parades
Walking on the balance beam
Engineering with recyclables
Pill bugs in the garden
Goodbye Song
The Big Cats

We have had a magical year together.  It has been a delight to be your teachers.  Have a great summer, full of exploration!

Ms. Ingram, Mr. Saibou, Ms. Oliver

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

SOL What about summer?

I'm a little crazed this week...but I wanted to post something on Two Writing Teachers' Slice of Life, just to keep up my writing habit!

Our school year is winding down.  I am in the midst of my fourth round of family conferences.  I am finding that these are truly delightful - an opportunity to have a very affirming, positive conversation with families about their child's growth this past school year.  So much growth happens over the course of a preschool year!

With each family, I am sharing my "top five things" to do with one's preschooler over the summer, to ensure they are ready for Pre-K:

  1. Go to the library!  Make it a weekly ritual.  Look for books we've read this school year, look for new books, and read, read, read.
  2. Create a special corner in your home for your preschooler, where he/she can work on things and leave it and then return to it.  I'm particularly partial to building things with recyclables and keeping a notebook/journal.  But, ideally, there's a little place that your little one can call one's own, to learn to create independently and to revisit these creations, to refine, edit, modify what they've done.  
  3. Ask your child the open-ended question: How does your story begin? and record the response.  Keep these precious stories for your child to read (and perhaps encourage your child to draw a picture to accompany these).  
  4. Let them dig in the dirt.  Yes.  Simply dig, play, explore, hunt for bugs, turn over rocks, enjoy.
  5. Begin a family tradition of "family game night" - these little ones love whole body games like "Hot/Cold" or "Guess What is Different" and simple board games. 
Summer, with its new, irregular schedule, provides such an opportunity to try new things, to create new rituals and traditions in one's family.

What ideas do you have for preschoolers in summer?  I'd love to know!